Volunteers awarded for urging young players into playing golf

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Two Leighton golfers have been honoured by their County for their voluntary work in encouraging and supporting the young and not-so-young to take up the sport.

Heath and Reach-based David Sweetnam has received the 2014 ward for Junior Development while Ken Wilson, who lives in Linslade, received the County award for Club Development.

They were two of 11 awards handed out by the Bedfordshire Golf Partnership chaired by former Leighton Ladies Captain Liz Bagshaw who herself was recently named as Member of the Year in recognition of her unstinting work in encouraging young women and people with disabilities to “Get into Golf.”

The Partnership embraces a group of organisations, including the Bedfordshire County Union, the PGA, England Golf, the Golf Foundation and county sports partners Teambeds and Luton, focusing on getting people into, or back into golf and sign up as a member at one of the 20 clubs in the county.

Former PE teacher David, 62, has been a member of the Leighton’s Plantation Road club for 26 years and involved in promoting golf in schools for over 30 years.

After a five year stint at Leighton as Junior organiser, David supported Paul Johnson with the Bedfordshire Schools golf programme in 2009 and is the current Secretary of the County Schools organisation.

After eight years as a member, Scotsman Ken, 62, joined the management team at the Leighton club in 2011 and is Chair of its Membership committee.

Over the past three years, he has been instrumental in championing a culture change at the club to attract more younger people with a range of attractive membership packages, backed up by induction courses, Open Days and development programmes.

As a result, Leighton has continued to enjoy a near-full membership every year.

Liz said: “Both David and Ken are truly inspirational, giving freely of their time to support others and their organisations.

“They are a credit to themselves and their sport and fully deserve their awards.”

Jeff Wood and Mike Birdseye teamed up to win Leighton’s Christmas Foursomes with 37 points, beating the experienced pair of Robbie John and Keith Camp on countback.

Stuart Goodwin and James Tyas took third spot with 36pts, with Manny Barker and Jeff Beasley, Will Koch and Len Clark and John Tarbox and Derek Ellam half a point behind.

Mick Cox is the new holder of Leighton Seniors Barney Hallam trophy, winning with a 41 point haul, a shot clear of Danny Nairne.

Terry Wright won third place after finishing with 37 points along with Paul Johnson, Les Westley and Keith Rogers, with skipper Fred Ritchie beating Steve Shepherd on countback after both finished with 36pts.

Les Westley,78, claimed the Tom Davis Over 75s Cup with 20 points over nine holes, beating 80-year-old Roy Meller on countback.

Elaine Powell teamed up with former Captains Trish Boote and Lynn Oliver to win Leighton Ladies Christmas competition with 70 points.